Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hunters On Your Land

This obviously won't apply to all homesteaders, but it certainly is a reality for us. Hunters want to hunt on our land, and some wander in from the wildlife management area because they have no idea that it is private property. I've been thinking about how to respond to this and talking to locals and friends who are hunters. What is basic etiquette on both sides of the equation.

Some basics for the area first. You have to be 500 feet from a house without permission or 150 feet from the road to be able to discharge a firearm out of the confines of a specifically delineated shooting range. This covers everything that shoots bullets other than black powder rifles which don't count as fire arms in the state of Massachusetts. Whether bow hunting or gun hunting, all hunters in Massachusetts must get a hunting license by animal, and only have a certain number of tags. So that basic information out there, the conclusions I have come to.

Edit: The Lady of the House noted that in MA if you don't post it is legal to hunt on the land unlike in other states where it is the opposite, and you can only hunt if posted.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Quick Hit: Ice Breaking Methods

Something the lady of the house and I have accumulated a lot of experience with in the past few weeks is breaking up ice. Figured given our new found and rather unfortunate learning, we would share some of our tips.

1: Don't let it become a problem. Clear the snow promptly and you won't have to deal with this issue. This means having proper tools to do so. Don't do what we did, and have so many pieces of advice and information we didn't know what choice to make. That is known as the wrong choice.

2: Much like facing a line of guys with a gun, a frontal assault isn't a good option. In this case, that means going after 12" deep ice with a shovel or breaker bar. It works, eventually, but your hands and arms will have problems with you.

3: Salt works wonders, but you have to follow up quickly. If you don't the precious open air between the ice and the ground fills back in quickly. Also, if you live in the North East of the USA at the very least, your town has sand and salt you can get for free. Don't buy it! Find out where your town roads department is.

4: Breaking a series of small holes that reach down all the way to the ground works! The  holes don't have to be huge, just big enough for sun to definitely reach the darker colored ground under the ice. Keep them clear, and they will quickly (relatively) expand, and reduce your work for clearing the ice off.

5: If you can get under the ice, levering it off in sheets and throwing it off the side of the driveway is the work efficient way to go about it. The less straight on impact you're doing the longer you will last, and the more you can clear in one go.

6: Take breaks! Hacking your way through deep ice is exhausting, and hard on your hands and arms. I've found I am most efficient when I take a break for water and a few minutes rest every hour or so.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cars and Homes

While not directly related to the topic of homesteading, it is most certainly related to our lives right now so today I'm going to talk about cars and how they fit into your life. Well, vehicles more to the point. Where we live, and probably where most homesteaders live you can't take a bus to get to and from everything. There are certainly exceptions to this rule, and the lady of the house and I know at least one. We on the other hand are on the opposite side of the spectrum. While we certainly don't have midwest level drives to get to anything, we have a 24.6 mile drive to work. Not quite a marathon, but you sure as hell can't walk it, and there isn't a bus within 14 miles of where we live other than the school buses that love playing hobb with our commute. So why is this part of our lives right now other than the obvious commute time? Simply, our one car between the two of us had a rather sudden and dramatic death.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

No Post: Car Failure

There is no post today because I'm trying to find a new car since our car has died. Regular posts resume Tuesday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Costs of a Rose

Michelle in again, with a post just in time for Valentine's day.  While not about food, I thought it would be interesting to discuss another type of plant that often enters our lives on various social occasions--cut flowers.
Really, flowers in February. Anyone else thinks that's crazy?

Beyond their price tag, what is the cost of a rose?  If it's grown in your garden, far less than most roses of course, but of the approximately 4 billion flowers given in the US today, only a tiny fraction are from the US at all, never mind local.  It makes sense though, I mean, it's February.  What kind of rose grows in February?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Quick Hit: Are We Over Planning?

A question I have been asking myself a lot lately is if we are over planning. We've gone through a bunch of revisions on what and how we are going to be doing things. With rabbits we've settled on what we are doing and how, now we just have to have the driveway clear enough to get a bundle of 2x4s up so I can build the hutches. For chickens though we are in a revision phase since we have new information about a new style of raising chickens. Obviously with chickens and gardening, we can't do anything right now so that's ok. And the place I came to for are we over planning or not was, no. It's winter, this is the time for planning and preparation. If when spring hits we don't get any plants in the ground because we're thinking about where we want them too much, that's over planning. What we are doing now is working on what we can given the season. As city kids, the season has mattered to us mostly in how to dress and had very little effect on what we did other than whether it was school or not. With homesteading, it seems that what season it is will be dictating what we do in a lot of cases. Short post today because the result of a lot of thinking was a very small amount of writing. Hopefully next week we will some more substantive posts, depending on what planning and research I get done!